View Full Version : Looking for opinions

03-25-2009, 08:27 PM

If you have a moment, I would like a 2nd opinion from some impartial bystanders on a controversy that has arisen between me and the local Moomba dealer.

Last fall I took my ’03 Moomba Mobius LSV to be winterized and have some odds and ends fixed. It was sitting in my garage, and when I called the mechanic told me that there were a few boats ahead of mine and so it would have to wait outside for a while before it was serviced. It was already cold, so I wasn’t crazy about that idea. So, I asked him to let me know when no one else was ahead of me. He called, I took it in, and everything was good. He told me that it would be indoors while it was being serviced. A few days later he called back and told me that the winterization was finished but that several parts needed to be ordered for the other work.

I said that was fine as long as the boat wasn't left outside. This place has a new storage area, and a large inside show room, and so he said that he would stick it in the corner and call me when it was ready. I jokingly told him that he could keep it stored out there until May if he wanted to, as long as it was ready for the summer.

We have had a number of conversations since then, always the same: telling me that parts were still ordered, confirming what kind of work that I wanted done, etc.
A couple of Sundays ago it was warm, so I took a drive by the dealership. What I found was that my boat had sat out in the back of their facility all winter long with no cover, no wrap, nothing. It was obvious that it had snowed in it, melted, frozen, etc, etc. I almost fainted on the spot.

Every one of their boats on the lot was covered. Only mine was left out. These people walked by my boat every day with snow in it and everything else and never once thought to even mention it to me. To top it all off, the owner became very belligerent when I asked him to look at it with me to determine if any damage was done as said “if you are implying that I might have any liability for anything that happened to your boat, we can end this conversation right now.” Then he told me “I learned a long time ago that no one is going to take care of my [expletive] the way that I will, and I’m sorry to be the one to deliver that message to you.” Until that point, I had been trying really hard to be civil. I am a huge Moomba fan, and I have no desire to have a bad relationship with the only dealer that is close to me. But that was too much to take. Perhaps he mistook my courtesy for weakness. The rest of the conversation went predictably downhill from there.

The question now is how do I determine my damages from this? Obviously, the boat suffered from all the exposure, but how do I put a price to that? My seats are covered in grime, the bilge area has water standing in it, etc, etc. I still owe him my repair bill, and unfortunately, I think we are heading to court with this one. I believe that he had a duty to treat my property with reasonable care while it was in his possession, and that by allowing it to deteriorate he was negligent in his responsibility. Small Claims has a limit of $5,000 here in Cincinnati, and so I will probably file there. What figure would seem reasonable to you, if no major issues are found? How do I get an estimate that would seem credible to a judge?

Thanks for your ideas.
Sick in Cincinnati

03-25-2009, 08:55 PM
that is a wild store i would have ripped him a new a///// hole.go down and get the boat do not pay the bill. they can't hold your boat, if they will not blet you take it call the police and they will make them give it to you. go to a interior replacement place and see if the seats are damaged. tell the police that damages that they caused is worth a way more then the bill.

03-25-2009, 09:00 PM
If he won't clean, fix it and make it 100% right, then the court system is your only alternative. They should have insurance on boats in service that are on the property and the neglect that has occured is just dreadful.

Might want to hire an attorney as well.

my .02

that kinda of crap give the manufacturer a bad rap.

03-25-2009, 10:02 PM
I did take the boat. It was Sunday, no one was around, and I wasn't going to let it sit out there for one more night like that. I wondered how long it would take him to call me. Answer: about ten minutes after they opened. Once it was their money at risk, they figured out how to dial the phone. It was almost funny. I answered the phone, and he said that he had "an update for me." I just let him talk about wheh the stuff would be in, etc. Finally, he just asked me "by the way, did you pick up your boat this weekend?"
This is one reason that he is so angry. He said that my contract states that I would not remove the boat without authorization, and that what I did was illegal and that he would call the sheriff on me. I told him that I would take my chances.

Frankly, I think the place is about to go under. The owner seems nice enough when he is trying to get you to buy something, but the moment there is any controversy... wow. I don't think he knows how to handle conflict without absolutely flying off the handle.

Since this is an authorized dealer, I also write to the Regional Sales Manager to ask if arbitration was available before I start filing complaints with the BBB or in small claims. I don't know if they get involved with stuff like that, but we'll find out.

To be fair, he says that I was stupid to think that they would store my boat for me, and it was my responsibility to check up on such a valuable boat. The guy that originally took the boat from me was "let go" for "failure to follow up with customers" (his words. He also said that he "would like to punch him in the face" for getting him into this situation). Nevertheless he would tell you that he doesn't think the guy ever told me any of that, and that I am "just trying to get something for free." I'm sure that's what he will say in court. My response is that regardless of what may or may not have been said, the Moomba Manual clearly describes how a boat should be stored, and that as an authorized dealer he failed to meet that standard, or to notify me that those standards were not being met on property in his care. This constitutes negligence for which he is liable. I feel good about that position, but honestly I am sorry it has come to that.

03-25-2009, 10:09 PM
Take a lot of pictures at the dealer as they are worth more than your story or the dealers. Get any pictures taken before the boat was taken in. Businesses have a responsibility to take prudent care of people's property. I take it that no cover was left with the dealer but your instructions were to not leave it outside. Was there an agreement to leave the boat there over the winter?

It may look bad now but you will be surprised after it is dried out and cleaned. I had a cover go bad one winter and leaked water into the boat and filled the bilge and it cleaned right up.

When you get your boat back be sure to put repeat listings into Craigslist with a picture trashing their place. That seems to be the best way to get the word out.

03-25-2009, 10:33 PM
Its not your fault he hired an idiot who left the boat outside, his employee his responsibility.

good luck.

03-25-2009, 10:52 PM
I am in the retail business, but in a different field. I have seen the ball dropped at the dealership I work at and there is simply two choices that can be made.

The 1st is that you as the owner can be un-willing to work with the dealer.

2nd, the dealership should step up to the plate and simply trade you into a new boat. A new boat is the only thing that is going to make this right for everyone. Simply put, your old boat will always have flaws that will remind you of the expericance with the dealer. And the times we are in the dealerships should be glad to sale a new boat.

Selling you a boat at cost is cheap, compared to the out come of going to court.

So buckle up and go make a deal on a new boat.

I would get a new XLV!!!!

03-26-2009, 12:06 AM
First off i am sorry to hear about this. Just to think that someone would do this makes me mad and sick. I know when dealing with my dealer that every time i take my boat in for service that if they dont have room to store the boat inside they let me know before i even bring the boat in.

So your dealer needs to step up and make this right. They should have noticed your boat outside and atleast let you know. If they where waiting for parts they should have given you a real time line and let you pickup the boat and bring it back later. How i see it is if your boat is in their care then they need to care for it. What would they do if the roof in their service department fell in on your boat. To me this is the same thing. This is just my imput.

03-26-2009, 12:37 AM
There is no way that these folks are going to step up to anything. This is part of an email that I just received:

"As we discussed, the boat was removed from our facility without our knowledge and without paying for the services provided. Under Ohio Revised Code, that removal without payment is violation of the Garage Keeper’s Lien provision and is classified as theft. We have reported a claim with local authorities for the removal of the inventory and violation of said covenant as required, and demand payment of the attached Work Order Balance within 72 hours. Upon full payment, we will release the repaired propeller and rescind the charges filed.

You are welcome to present us with the list of damages that you purport were enabled to occur while the boat was left at our facility and pursue civil proceedings accordingly if warranted and you so desire. However, the criminal aspects related to the non-payment and unauthorized removal will prevail if that balance is not paid in full by March 30, 2008."

He is also now claiming that he told me to pick up the boat in December, and that he has the right to charge me for storage. Obviously he is either spoiling for a fight, or hopes that he can intimidate me into compliance.

03-26-2009, 01:51 AM
Sad to hear. I think this should involve Moomba Regional Sales. You trust a place that has the same name hanging up in their shop as is written across your boats transom, because you trust the brand. In other words... you don't take your Cadillac to Jiffy Lube... You take it to a Cadillac dealer because you know they value it like you do. I am sure you towed your boat past plenty of capable shops. This guy is not just trashing his shop... because he is an 'authorized dealer' he is poorly representing Moomba as well. I agree with kennedy, the boat will never be the same. He should give you full trade value of your (pre-abused) boat on cost of a new model. And if not... its 2009 and Moomba is a close-nit community... like zabooda says... we can make sure his boat sales take turn for the worst. This is a shop Moomba should get their name off immediately! Is this Lakota Watersports? Keep us updated.

03-26-2009, 08:34 AM
Finally, he just asked me "by the way, did you pick up your boat this weekend?"

answer should have been "no", followed by "why where is MY boat".

It is vehicle theft to remove your car from a repair shop without paying the bill.(in florida), we have had to call and report a car as stolen before.

I think you will be suprised at how it will clean up, back home i would see boats left out uncovered on purpose and get full of snow, but in the summer after a good cleaning they would look fine.

03-27-2009, 03:37 PM
I wouldn't clean the boat or anything. You really shouldn't have to do anything. I would contact somebody high in Moomba and tell them all about this. I think you have a good case and people like this guy get me so angry!

03-27-2009, 11:26 PM
I live in Indiana and I am quite familiar with Indiana law....with that being said I am not sure how it may help you where you live. In Indiana this would be considered a civil matter and Police will not get involved unless ordered so by a judge. Most times people will still call the police because it "intimidates" those that dont understand the law and when they see the police they assume that they will be arrested. Police try not to get involved in civil matters for obvious reasons. Here all they can do is put what's called a mechanics lein on the vehicle which means you cant sell the vehicle until the mechanic bills have been paid. If the police come knocking on your door for your boat I would ask them what the consequences are for not returning it. If they tell you that you can be arrested ask them what you can be arrested for. This will help because later in court you can state that you were coerced by the Police to return it therefore hold the department liable as well....this is the reason why most police departments dont get involved in civil matters. Or when the Police show up you can just deny that you even have the boat and that the shop owner is making up a story because it is his word against yours....that would at least buy you some time but it might be little tricky in the long run. Hope this helps.

03-28-2009, 10:30 PM
Thanks everyone for your advice and your support. I wrote a couple of letters to our Regional Sales Representative, and one to RickT, the admin of the board. They never replied, but the dealer in question wrote to tell me that SC was willing to arbitrate for us, so I think that something has been going on in the background. The dealer asked that I send a check for the balance of my repairs to SC, and that they would give an opinion as to how it should be disbursed after doing some fact gathering. In some ways, this may be another naive move on my part, but I'm going to do it. I'll keep everyone updated.

03-28-2009, 11:50 PM
With the laws and all, that is the right move and unfornunately really the only move. You have something in writting so that will help. The third party sometimes helps when it starts getting hot under the collar.

03-29-2009, 11:10 AM
I also bought my boat from the only Moomba dealership in Cincy. I have had some significant service done and fortunately, I have not had the experience that you have had. They always did a good job of following up on anything they said they would do. Although it often took several trips to get it right. With that said, I truly trusted the salesman I purchased from and he was involved in all service as well. Unfortunately, he has left the dealership. I don't know if it is the same employee you mentioned, but I can't believe he would be 'let go for not following up with customers'. Good luck with your boat. I personally hope they aren't going under, but more importantly, I hope you get resolution.

03-30-2009, 01:35 PM
This sure sounds like a bailment situation where liability on the part of the dealer is obvious. You should have had an outside neutral investigator document the condition of your boat before you picked it up. By not doing this you have created a question as to how and when any damage was caused. Next time you have a problem like this consult your lawyer before you take action. You wouldn't make an incision in your chest without consulting your physician, would you?

03-30-2009, 08:22 PM
Yes, if I had it to do over, that is certainly what I would do. I tend to be the old fashioned type that doesn't carry his lawyer's card around in his shirt pocket, but I'm learning. I'm not sure that even that would have prevented controversy, however. I'm sure that they will claim that every fault is pre-existing, and that, in fact, leaving the boat outside all winter was really GOOD for it, and that I should pay extra for the favorable climate that exists behind their garage.
I did take pictures, and have preserved the boat in the exact condition in which I found it. I haven't even dug around looking for problems yet. I'm setting up an appointment with an expert to go through it with me the first time, and document the condition then. If SC arbitrates, I will wait for them. Really, I didn't go into this looking for a fight, or even anticipating one.

03-30-2009, 11:08 PM
one word:


03-31-2009, 12:22 AM
Well Jeff,

Thanks for the PM but I’m buried right now so I think I’ll sit this one out. In 4 years George has had one other complaint filed here. I took a rather lengthy “let’s hear both sides” stand and all in all I probably should have sided more strongly with George.

The last issue was resolved about the time I posted, with luck this will work out the same. Rick and the SC folks have stepped in here before when needed. Usually because emotion has overcome logic.

As an aside, I charge my friends with Supras $50 a month for indoor storage. I ride with them a lot! The going rate is over $100. It sounds like your boat was there from fall to spring and I know his new boats are outside. Wrapped, but outside. Mine was also outside when I bought it (and under a foot of snow).

You are not going to have any structural damage from water or ice in the bottom of the boat. You might have some mildew. If he said the boat was inside, it should have been inside. If he fixed your boat, you should pay him. I should go to bed.

In the future, I always pull the plug when the boat is on the trailer. I bought the plug with a eye at the end so you can tighten with a bolt - and tie the darn thing to the stearing wheel. $7 at BassPro

Good luck,


03-31-2009, 10:10 AM
Yes, I hope that's the way it works out too. But I don't see a lot of reason to be optimistic. Friday he told me that I could send a check to SC and they would arbitrate for us. If I agreed, he said that he would send me the contact info on Saturday. I agreed, and now it's Tuesday and... nada.
I have been trying to use restraint, and not escalate this thing beyond control. I've avoided using the dealership name, or any personal names in the public forum. I really don't think that my emotion has overcome my reason, but, very few would admit it even if they had, I guess.
Would it have been a nice bonus if they had kept my boat stored for me all winter? Yes, of course it would have. On the other hand, I have my own garage that costs me nothing to use. If I would have shown up at the unnamed dealership and found my boat outside with an old blue tarp or something thrown over it, I would not have been thrilled, but I probably would not have even mentioned it. But they put it our there with asolutely no cover of any kind all winter long, and walked by it everyday w/o even a phone call.
I'm not one of those guys that is a finatic about the condition of their boat. I have a couple of young kids, and it is not a museum piece. We use it, and love it. On the other hand, I don't have all that much time, and it is important to me that when I have time to go out on the water, I don't spend my time trying to get it started or screwing around with some mechanical problem. I'm sure that leaving it outside did not cause structural problems. In fact, I'm not sure what problems it may have caused, and that's why I started this thread. Deteriorated upholstery? Speakers? Stereo? Water traveling up the steering cable and corroding it? Gel coat? Maybe nothing.
I just asked him to look at it with me and help me determine IF there were any problems. He wigged out as if I had insulted his mother or something: using profanity, threatening me with the Sheriff and lawyers, talking about punching his employees in the nose.... I don't know. Maybe he is going through some kind of severe stress or something. A lot of people are right now. But, I don't think that makes it my obligation to just tolerate this kind of negligence and belligerence. I've asked everyone that I know to ask for informal help. If I can't get any that way, then I will reluctantly take it to the next level.

03-31-2009, 12:05 PM
You begin to understand why many of us do all our own service. Everything you need to know is available on this site.

03-31-2009, 12:28 PM
I am wondering if I am going to have problems with my dealer.

I just purchased a Moomba XLV Gravity Games Edition, the boat was left at the dealership so they could finish the item that needed to be installed to complete the purchase. They had to order a Z-Cargo Rack and Install the DUAL Battery PKG into the boat.

I though they understood me when I told them I did not want the boat to sit outside, and if it would let me know and I would take the boat home and bring it back when the service work needed to be performed.

So I went to the dealership yesterday and drive around the back side of the shop and see my new boat outside with 5-6 inches of fresh April snow on the cover. Thankfully it was covered, but the point is my new boat that will not sit outside is outside with 5-6 inches of snow on the new cover that is stretching the hell out of it.

The dealership is closed today and we are going to get another 5-6 inches of snow, this will equal more than a 12 inches of snow stretching out the cover.

Not sure how I should handle this with the dealer. I think at the least they will owe me an new cover. I think that will be fair!!!

Do you think that will be asking too much, or how would you handle a deal like this!!!




03-31-2009, 03:05 PM
I'm going to pick up my boat today and I'll post how it was stored. It hasn't snowed here but it will give you an idea of how a dealer should take care of something they no longer own.

04-01-2009, 10:32 PM
I would be finding the former employee and getting a statement from him. Once the dealer and SC knows about the statement (if it is in your favor) then the game will change. Game on!

04-02-2009, 02:22 AM
I keep from taking anything to a dealer and I'm lucky to find good mechanics. My boat mechanic I have used for 18 years worked out of a dark and dingy warehouse building next to the river. I got word a few months back that the marina burnt down and they are out of business. I was shocked because I was afraid of having to find another mechanic so I called the shop number on a Sunday night expecting a disconnected number but I got the mechanic on the other end. I apoligized for calling on a Sunday night but he explained what happened.

About a year ago, the shop adjacent to his marina was fabricating some plastics when they started the building on fire. Him and his workers raced and got every boat out of the building (six of them) and saved some specialized tools before the building burnt down. He lost everything else and he is working out of his home under the table because the city wants that waterfront for other purposes and he is still waiting for money from the insurance companies so he can get a building.

I told him my old 1978 Glastron Carlson always needed work each year but my Moomba needed work when I bought it in 2002 but I haven't had any work done on it since so I've been out of touch with him. He told me I can come over anytime with the boat for repairs (with cash) and hopefully (knock on wood) I won't need servicing for a while longer.

Long story but in the end I don't think I would find many people devoted as he is and to think about someone else's boats instead of the other irreplaceable tools and parts that were lost and risk injury doing so speaks many words. Dealers whether it's cars, trucks, or boats do not have the dedication or loyality as these private shops do. They specialize in one thing, service and can't hide behind other aspects of the business as dealers do.

04-02-2009, 04:00 PM
My boat was looking great when I went to pick it up. By no means did they wash it for me ... but they didn't trash it out. Everything that needed to be done was done and the boat was covered and waiting on me when I pulled in.

04-02-2009, 04:42 PM
Glad to hear it. I don't understand why so many businesses are determined to chase their customers away.
'Bout that rudder, I told him it was OK to put a MC part on my Moomba as long as it was on the a$$ end.

04-02-2009, 08:12 PM
My experience.

1. No dealer has enough storage space to keep every boat they are working on inside.
2. When ever I bring a boat to a dealer ALWAYS PULL THE PLUG and put it in the glove box. That is where they expect it to be and that is where they would put if they removed it. It only takes one day of heavy rain to flood a boat, even if the bilge is running on auto. In fact I remove the plug everytime I pull the boat out of the water.
3. ALWAYS COVER a boat when leaving at a dealer. My experience is that they do not do a very good job of recovering boat, like putting in tent poles, hence, back to rule #2.
4. Do not expect your boat to be covered by insurance. I had my cover damaged and someone attempt to steal tower speakers, while parked outside for three nights at a dealer.

Don't misunderstand me, I feel for you you and wish you the best of luck.

It kind of makes you woner though - how did you get the boat out of there without paying for it. I would say they were negligent in adequately protecting you boat from theft. If you could pick up your boat without paying, then I suppose anyone else could have as well?

Good luck

04-03-2009, 08:58 AM
agree with the above. just like a car, MOST dealers will only take the basic minimum steps. even though it's an expensive investment for you, it's just another boat to them. a 45k new mobius is nothing compared to a 90k+ malibu 247 at our dealer..
I don't ever leave our boat there without covering it myself in the lot. while mine was having gelcoat work done last fall, I checked in every week to see that they were taking care of it(and to browse the shop/shoot the breeze with salesmen)..
as stated, it really sucks what you are going through, but I think most would not expect any dealer to store a boat indoors with no fees no matter what was being said on the phone. a pop-in to the dealer over the winter should have been done..

hope skiers helps you get, at the very least, a full detail and helps reassure you in any future issues with the boat.

04-03-2009, 07:15 PM

Sorry for your bad experience. It is absolutely incredible that a dealer would have such gross neglect for a boat in there care. In this market it is crucial
for dealers to go the extra mile to do more service work and attract new customers. You are probubly right this dealer will not last long with an attitude like that. SC should be on top of this since its the only dealer in the area. Your next boat wont be coming from them unless they make good on this. If you don't get satifaction by the start of the season I think you should
tell all using names, dates and pictures on all the forums . good Luck

04-04-2009, 01:22 PM
Thanks for all the responses and PMs, especially Sandm and Benson. I was hoping that someone would eventually take an oppossing viewpoint. My take on it is this: I know that some people are far more paranoid than I am, and would have called all the time to make sure that their boat (or car, or whatever) was being treated in the way that they expected. In this case, that paranoia would have been well founded, and would have paid off for them.
If i would have dropped it off at "Fred the mechanic", who works out of his garage and charges me $20 an hour, then I would have been more paranoid as well. But, I really do not have the time to screw around with that. This is why I took it to THE dealer, and am willing to pay a premium for expertise and professional services that is far beyond what Fred would charge me. Each time that I have had this dealer perform winterization and scheduled maintenance, my bill has been in excess of $1000.00. If he suggested it, I did it; no questions asked.
If he would have called me because he had no room, I would've come to get it. If I would've found the boat with an old cover over it I would not have been thrilled, but I would not have pressed the issue either. If it would've had to be taken outside uncovered from time-to-time to make room for other projects- well, OK. But the absolute and utter disregard with which my boat was treated is almost incomprehensible to me. And then, to be cursed at and berated when I merely asked that dealer to help me look it over for possible damages-- ??

04-04-2009, 04:44 PM
How much does it cost to get a boat winterized? What other problems were
found? I do all the maintenance on my boat the only time it was at the dealer was when it was new to get a few bugs out. I haven't kept up with repair rates. After reading your post I couldn't sleep at night knowing my boat was in someone else's care.

04-04-2009, 10:46 PM
Each time that I have had this dealer perform winterization and scheduled maintenance, my bill has been in excess of $1000.00. If he suggested it, I did it; no questions asked.

What was the charge just for the winterization? If it was a large percentage of the $1,000, then I'd find someplace else regardless. Full winterization for me was $175. That included oil & filter and whatever else they do at 50 hrs.

04-05-2009, 02:22 PM
50.00 an hr is CHEAP . Our dealer is 115.00 hr. Winterization is about 375.00. Thats why i do my own.

04-05-2009, 02:23 PM
Sorry misread your 50hrs as per hr but the rest still applies.

04-07-2009, 03:20 PM
I have read all the responses to the service issue this particular individual has with my dealership. I must say, as a person trying to earn a living in the marine industry, most of the replies seem very angry in nature. I always try to hear both sides before I condem someone. From the overall responses on this issue, that does not seem to be the norm.
I will not waist your all's time with our point of view, because it does not seem that you want to hear the facts as the happened. The fact that this boat was brought to us after Thanksgiving to be winterized, in very questionable condition. It was dirty. The fact that several conversations took place between my employees, and this person. The fact that we told the person several times after the previous employee left, that we do not keep boats inside that are not paying for indoor storage. I have to keep my own boats outside. The fact that a cover was not left with the boat, and my employees ask the person to bring us one. But, I am not hear to argue.
My reason for speaking up is this. As the marine industry changes so do we as dealers and or manufacturers. We must be more efficient, and grasp every dollar It is not, nor has it ever been my goal to have people dislike my business. I have found in my short 25 years of experience, that happy customers tend to spend more. This person, has called every employee I have a liar. He has given his opinion that I am going under. I did not know my accountant shared my financials with this person. He has been very hard to do a normal business transaction with. As an earlier response stated, there has only been one other complaint about my dealership in the thousands of customers we have serviced for Skier's Choice. And yes, I probably could have handled that better. In short, the customer drove past my strore and bought from a non-local dealer, then wanted warranty repair from me. Instead of asking why he went elsewhere, I told him to take the boat there for service. After looking at ourselves, I came to terms that we needed to work a little harder to keep that from happening again. I was wrong in that case. And as we got to know the customer from servicing his boat, our relationship grew. He ended up trading the boat in on a new Launch22ssv and continues to spend money here. I want customers to be happy with us. My employees also want to continue to earn customers respect. But, sometimes we just can't make everyone happy. It is not resonable in my opinion for someone to expect indoor storage while their boat is being serviced. I do not have enough room for it. As I stated earlier, my own boats have to sit outside. How do we discriminate on who goes inside and who does not? Do you want to be the one outside? No. That is why we tell everyone, we do not promise inside storage for service. We treat everyone the same. Please understand that most dealers want to make customers happy. I, we all ask, that before you pass judgement based on unverifiable statements, you just look both ways. To all, we are still in business, and will continue to do good work for a fair and reasonable price.
As a side note, even though this person has still not made payment, I have offered to clean his boat myself. I will not require my employees to, because they did try to get him to bring a cover. The followed every procedure we have in place to prevent such an issue.
It would not be fair for them to have clean this guys boat. Therefore, to prevent any additional slander to my business, waisted time for Skier's Choice, I will do the cleaning.
Pass judgement on that.

George Armour,
President, Lakota Watersports Inc.

04-07-2009, 04:24 PM
Sounds to me like the customer had an arrangement to avoid having his boat put outside but it was made with a guy who left the employ of the dealer in the meantime and the boat got put outside. So the question is if the employee is permitted to speak for the dealer and if the customer is supposed to be able to take him at his word and expect the dealer to honor it. I don't believe for a minute that the boat owner was told his boat would be left outside and was asked for a cover and he agreed to this and failed to provide a cover. Better try again.

04-07-2009, 05:10 PM
there's 3 sides to this story. the customers, the boat dealers and the truth. we will all never know the truth to this story.
bottom line, pissed off customer, dealer trying to save face and a dirty boat.

I will commend the dealer for trying to clean it, and hope that the owner takes him up on it, that ultimately ends in a better relationship, and a dealer that does a better job managing his employees. it really boils down to 2 things. a dealer that doesn't begin to look at what is in his yard, irregardless of what his employees are telling customers, and a boat owner that doesn't have enough pride in his machine to visit the dealer at least once, and is naieve enough to think that he can get inside winter storage for free.....

again, hope this has a happy ending, but I doubt it..
let the internet bashing continue :)

04-07-2009, 05:38 PM
I bought my boat from this dealer and haven't had any problems. Being familar with the dealer and his operation, your statement that the dealer doesn't know what is in his yard is ridiculous. Just driving up to his shop he would know exactly what boats are there. I would say that he has room for 20 boats max outside his facility. I can't understand a boat owner who lives in the same city as his dealer and didn't drive by or check on his boat from december to march. My boat is 500 miles away so I don't have this option and by the way this dealer has been very helpful even though he knows my boat probably won't come back for service at his shop.

04-07-2009, 06:07 PM
ok, maybe knowing what's in the yard, but not taking some initiative to dig into why it's not covered didn't happen.
am guessing a case of he drives into the yard every morning, notices a boat uncovered and either doesn't give it a second look, or ASSUMES that someone called on it..

I would like to think that as a small business owner, I would have personally called the client after a couple of weeks in the fall/winter and inquired about a cover, but like he said, being in business 25 years, people fall into a routine. it really is the little things that make a good dealer great, and unfortunately, in this case, he did not demonstrate that he is a great dealer.

however the boat owner can't be off the hook in this case either. it really is a case of negligence on both parties imo.

you have had good service from him, and so have countless others, but being in business 25 years, this is not the only person to have an issue with them. the key is how he will handle it, and in looking from the post above, he is making an effort, which is a good step.

04-07-2009, 06:23 PM
I knew there was more to the story as people don't leave boats for servicing and not come back for months. Any service place charges after so many days that the work is complete to get their boat. You need to look at the steps you take when you take the boat in such as covering it, get an estimate and get a estimated completion time. I was always quick to pick up my boat as the outdoor lock up area can get filled and movement of boats means more dings. It sounds like a messy issue from both sides and things could have been better but the ultimate responsibility is the person with the most at stake and that is the owner. The feedback from customers tells the story and there will always be a few negative comments but when you are 1 out of 100 that is well within the norm so you have to dig deep for finger pointing but the finger points to each other. He agreed to clean up the boat and as I suggested earlier the cleanup may not be that bad as I experienced that with a leaky cover over one winter.

04-07-2009, 07:31 PM
A few questions
Did you the dealer raise your voice imtimadate and use obsinities as stated ?
Did you the dealer ever get the parts that were ordered? Was the job ever completed?
You stated you have to leave your own boats outside when you do are they
left uncovered like you did your customers? Who supplies covers for them?
I am sure there are two sides and we still don't have them.
That being said YOU are a professional and I hold you responsible for anything
that happens at your dealership. Leaving any boat outside wile in your care then blaming it on the owner because it was dropped off dirty. Please. Your
responsilibilty was to return it in the same or better condition than it was in.
Did YOU ever call and talk to YOUR customer or ASSUME the employee handled it.
Your attitude towards the other customer that bought his boat somewhere else and wanted you to service it tips me off. You think customers owe you loyalty and if they don't give it you want to punish them. YOU have to work very hard to earn loyalty. Can YOU say you did everything in your power to
protect and care for this boat? After reading this post you would never see
my boat for service.

04-07-2009, 07:40 PM
I appreciate that George took the time to respond to this issue. I bought my boat from him and have taken it back anytime that I have needed service. I have no complaints with the work that was done or its price but I will say that no one ever told me to bring my cover with me when I scheduled my appointment.
I always try to schedule appointments after reviewing the weather forecast and picked it up as soon as it was ready. I never at any time thought about taking the cover. I think that is partially due to the fact that the cover supplied by SC is not trailerable.
If it is the desire of the dealers for us to bring the cover with the boat for service/repair, then shouldn't SC attempt to supply one that is trailerable?
Hopefully, there will be a positive resolution to this and we will all be a little more knowledgable about the expectations of the dealer and of ourselves.

04-07-2009, 07:58 PM
I put my cover on when I get there. I have come in and watched them work once and they basically roll the cover up to the point where they can work on it and when they are done they roll the cover back. It keeps other peeps from taking things as customers are walking around the boat.

I did see some anger in the words from the dealer and I also disagee with some of what is said but I've heard those same comments from other dealers also. That is why this issue has two sides to it and hopefully everything will get back to normal for them all.

04-07-2009, 10:29 PM
Tomorrow I take my 08 boat and my 08 car in for service I'm sure I will having nightmares tonight about both dealers because of this thread.

04-08-2009, 01:25 AM
Tomorrow I take my 08 boat ... in for service

Suprahunter - What happened to the classic? Man, that was a sharp boat. - Deerfield

04-09-2009, 02:04 AM
The 89 Sunsport is still sleeping next to the 08 no plans to sell the supra.
I am making plans to go to the reunion in northern IL July 25. Hope to see you there.

Both car and boat survived their visits to the dealers .

04-09-2009, 02:12 PM
Glad to hear it.

04-09-2009, 11:25 PM
I wanted to post a quick reply. things have been pretty busy lately. My wife dislocated her patella on our trampoline, and now I get to be Mr, Mom, chauffeur, etc.

So, yeah, the winterization is pretty expensive. Every year I get the transmission service, oil change, impeller replacement, etc. It comes to around $750 or $800. Then there are always extras: this year I replaced a seat cushion and the exhaust flaps, and had them adjust the steering cable.

Why do I pay that much? I'm no mechanic. The one thing that is VERY important to me is that when i get in the boat, it starts and runs well. I do not want to screw around with family and friends waiting in the boat while I am playing Mr. Goodwrench. I just do not have the time.

For me, this is part of the expense of owning a boat. So, I take it to the dealer authorized repair shop, and do whatever they tell me to do. You know what I have loved about my Moomba? It has been so dependable. (And cool, of course) I get in, I turn the key, and it performs. I don't get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach at each of the odd noises or spluttering that my old boat used to make. I have absolute confidence that when it is time to go, the LSV will be dependable.

Frankly, that feeling of confidence and pride is what I am afraid that this whole thing will have taken from me. We'll see. If so, I'll sell it and get a new one, or take up a new hobby.

SC has stepped up and agreed to arbitrate. I'll keep you posted on the results of that.

04-10-2009, 10:56 AM
It sounds like you are the kind of customer that a dealer would kill for.
The best my dealer can hope for from me is parts and accessories and of course new boats.
Did you buy the boat from them?
Did they ever finish the original job they ordered the parts for?

04-11-2009, 02:53 PM
I totally missed the owner’s response from the 7th when I posted my last.

So, from my standpoint there are 2 issues:
1) What happened to my boat
2) The response that I received when I tried to resolve it

I'm going to start with #2, because to me that is the biggest part of this. My goal for a resolution was very simple, and when I called and spoke to the owner I already knew what I wanted. I asked him to clean the boat for me and to then look at it with me to see IF any damage had been done. I took pains to say that I did not know that there was any damage; just that I was concerned. Again folks, I am no mechanic. The immediate response I received was "If you are implying that I might have any liability for damage that might have occurred while your boat was here, then we might as well end this relationship right here." Honestly, my mouth dropped open. He then went on to angrily proclaim that "no court in the country would find me liable". I had said nothing about courts or liability or anything like that. Coupled with his earlier rant about "no one taking care of my [excrement] like I will and I'm sorry to deliver that lesson" and all the rest, (punching the ex-employee in the nose, boat industry in major trouble, "IF he survives the money will be in service", etc) it was surreal. I honestly wondered if he had been drinking, or if he was suffering major stress from financial issues. I did my best to avoid angry words, but if someone INSISTS on a fight, then I'm the wrong one to put into a corner. If he is allowed to treat customers in this manner, and there are no repercussions at all from the boating community, then he will continue to do so with impunity.
#1: What happened to the boat: I am not saying that the guy who took my boat lied. I never even implied that. Have I used the word “lie” or “liar” on this board? Nevertheless, I was told that my boat would be inside. If he was fired for "lack of follow-up" as George told me, then it is not his fault that this happened. He had no control at all. But I am going to tell you this without doubt: No one ever told me to bring a cover out, or to get the boat, or anything like that. It did not happen. In fact, when I asked about it in the very beginning, I was told that a cover was not necessary because it would be inside. Was I too trusting? Yes, I guess that is the question. Maybe I was. I can tell that some of you would’ve parked a trailer out there at night to guard it (Zabooda) But it is not as if I just dropped the boat off and forgot all about it. There were numerous questions that flowed back and forth about parts, and costs. I saw George at the boat show in January and talked to him and the regional sales rep for a significant time about whether or not a new LSV would fit in my garage or not. He started working up trade-in figures on this very boat. He acknowledged to me that it was waiting on parts. So while I am sitting there with a tape measure on a new LSV to make sure it will go in the garage, my other boat is sitting outside with snow on the seats. If I would've showed up at the dealer in March and found my boat with an old tarp over it, or something, I would not have been thrilled, but I would not even have made a point of it. But to find it utterly neglected, and then to be cursed at and threatened when I ask someone to look at it with me? What kind of guy would just say, "Oh, OK, I guess you're right. Here's your check for $1150"?
So, do you guys really think I should take my boat back to this dealer? I honestly am having trouble with this. It seems like I would be asking for trouble- personal trouble with this owner who thus far has shown no ability to discuss without flying off the handle, and potential controversy when my boat breaks down on the lake and I suspect that he sabotaged it out of spite. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems foolish to me. On the other hand, he is now going to use this offer to try to make me seem like the unreasonable one.

One thing is certain: due to the involvement by Skiers Choice and your input, this man’s attitude has changed significantly.
SC has my cashiers check for the full amount, as I committed.
I will talk to anyone on this board, in person or by cell. Anyone in this area is welcome to see me personally. I'll be up at the new cable park a lot, and I'll talk to you there, or at the next Cincywake event. Until George posted, I took great pains NOT to use this dealer’s name, or to use personal names at all. Should you continue to patronize this place? That is up to you. If the situation was reversed, however, I would want to know. At this point, he is on the ropes and will think twice before he “delivers a lesson” to anyone else.

04-12-2009, 09:09 PM
Once trust is lost its almost impossible to get back. I respect how you didnt
include the names of the people or dealer. That strengthened your argument.
After the owner posted his side he lost me completely its not hard to see
through his statements. There is no way I would ever take my boat to him
again and if you are still thinking new Moomba make that known to the SC
rep he will find you a GOOD dealer to work with.

To the dealer SHAME ON YOU when you take in a boat its like inviting someone to your home the way you treated this guest tells all what kind of
host you are. I don't know how you made it 25 years. Not with customer
service like this. Airing this in public is very unprofessional this should have been taken care of with an apology.

01-17-2010, 12:03 AM
For those of you who have asked how this turned out, I want to apologize for not posting the conclusion sooner. But, I wanted to get some time between the emotion and my final comment.

In short, Skiers Choice did get involved. They had a discussion with George and then called me to ask me to give Lakota a chance to work things out. I called, and he said that if I would bring my boat in he would personally see that it was cleaned and have it checked for damages. He was polite and professional, but at no time really apologized for his previous statements.

I took it back and they cleaned it. Frankly, they did a fantastic job. The boat looked like it was new, and I was thrilled when I picked it up. I was also told that the boat had a clean bill of health, and no damage was found.

Last summer was bad for boating here in Cincinnati, and for my family especially. It was cold and wet, and my wife’s knee injury put her out for the season. Then the radio broke, and the alternator started acting up, and the ballast pumps, and several other small items. Was any of this caused by sitting outside all winter? It is hard to tell, really. All I know is that every time something went “bump” I thought about the whole episode again.

What’s the moral of the story? Well, I won’t be going back. I’ve never had any questions about this dealer’s competency, and the owner is nice enough when he is trying to sell you something. But I think that his many years selling used cars has given him a certain “defensive” mind-set when problems arise, and a very short-sighted perspective on customer service.

I took my Mobius to Cincinnati Mastercraft to be winterized this year and they did a super job, and were very polite. It is obvious to me that they are boaters and wakeboarders who are really involved in the end-product of their labors. They also were much cheaper. I’ve had my auto mechanic for 17 years, my plumber for 15, etc, etc. I tend to be loyal as long as people are honest and fair, even if I end up paying a little more. So it is nice to pay less for a change and still get better service. I also ordered some accessories from another Moomba dealer that is a couple hours away in Anderson, Indiana, and they had it delivered for me at a very reasonable rate.

Thanks to those of you who have given me your opinions, pro or con. I really have tried not to bash anyone or be vindictive, but I think that a foundational reason for a message board is to keep one another informed.
I can’t wait for spring!

01-17-2010, 07:02 PM
WOW - what an experience. I think I would have blew a cap as I baby my boat (and everything else I own for that matter). Onword and upwords to a better year in 2010. Bring on boating season.